“I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.
We typically only talk about life support when there’s a medical crisis. There’s generally a good reason for this. But as I wrestled with today’s passage, I couldn’t shake the thought that we all need life support.
There’s a myth as old as Adam and Eve that we don’t need God or anyone else to make it through life. Particularly in the western world, we praise people for being self-made and self-sustaining. And we get frustrated with being dependent or having someone dependent on us.
It’s no wonder Moses felt overwhelmed leading the nation of a million-plus Israelites through the wilderness. No matter how divinely connected he stayed to God, Moses faced human disappointment and discouragement daily. Eventually, his unsolvable, unsustainable reality turned into a deep depression. And, on his own, Moses could only come up with one self-destructive way out.
Can you identify with Moses? His complaint to God was valid: “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.” His heart needed this moment of clarity to be ready for the Lord to intervene. Moses had to get to the point where he was willing to admit he needed life support, both from God and his community. I imagine the same is true for you and whatever you’re facing. I know it’s true for me.
The beauty of this passage is how brokenness is handled with care. God doesn’t dismiss Moses in his depression. As always, Yahweh brings him spiritual and relational life support. The burden doesn’t go away; it just gets carried by more hands that are empowered by the Spirit’s strength.
You and I don’t have to look far to realize that we all need life support. It’s impossible for us to be self-made, self-sustaining individuals. God didn’t design us or the world to operate this way. We have the opportunity, with every breath, to realize before God and others that our burdens are meant to be shared and we don’t have to carry them alone.
- Prayer and Sharing Your Story are two practices that can help you process burdens you’re carrying and get the life support you need. What has been weighing on you recently that you need to talk about with God and a trusted friend? Schedule time for these conversations today.
- You weren’t designed to do life alone. If you’re unsure where to turn about a current struggle or are feeling the weight of depression or anxiety, reach out to Willow Creek’s Pastoral Support to get pointed in the right direction.